2 Known Dead, 12 Missing After Storm Soaks Jamaica!

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2 Known Dead, 12 Missing After Storm Soaks Jamaica!

Post by Donald C. Burney » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:01 pm

2 Known Dead, 12 Missing After Storm Soaks Jamaica!

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By DAVID MCFADDEN, Associated Press Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Tropical Storm Nicole caused flooding and mudslides across Jamaica on Wednesday, leaving two confirmed dead and at least 12 more missing, even as the drenching system moved north and dissipated over the Florida straits.

The outer bands of the storm hammered Jamaica, toppling bridges and knocking out power to thousands. Many streets were filled with gushing brown torrents of water, prompting Prime Minister Bruce Golding to urge people to stay indoors.

Floodwaters battered squatter communities perched uneasily on the slopes of gullies that crisscross the sprawling capital of Kingston. One slide killed a 14-year-old boy, known to his neighbors as Buju, who was found in an eddy of muddy water. The rest of his family — including four sisters, the youngest just 3-years-old — had not been found by Wednesday evening.

"He was a fun boy. He loved to sing, he loved to play football. It's not right, the whole family lost," said Munchie Fuller, a 23-year-old neighbor who watched terrified as a chunk of her own concrete house in Sandy Gully was swept into the raging waters before dawn.

Another resident, Lyndon Bennett, said the people in the shantytown who live along the gully are warned repeatedly to move for their own safety but most refuse to relocate.

"There's not a proper foundation there, the gully is just stone and dirt. People are told not to live there, but when you've got no other options you've just got to make ends meet. It's a real tragedy," Bennett said.

The storm, which had sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) earlier in the day, broke apart over the Atlantic, though the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami warned that there were still large areas of heavy rain.

Jamaican Information Minister Daryl Vaz said two people were confirmed dead but warned that the toll could be higher from the flash floods and mudslides. He said 12 people were missing.

Emergency shelters were opened for thousands of Jamaicans who live in ramshackle homes along gullies. Major hospitals were treating only emergency cases. Officials said about 30 percent of the power utility's customers were without power. Some bridges collapsed in the rushing water.

"All in all, there has been a lot of damage done to infrastructure," Vaz said. "It's a serious blow to the country."

In a rural area of St. Elizabeth parish, people told government officials that two farmers in the town of Flagaman were washed away by murky floodwaters and presumed dead. Another man was reportedly swept away while trying to cross rushing Hope River in Kingston.

Floods flattened fields of bananas, scallions and sweet pepper as the storm's outer edges raked the island.

The storm also soaked Cuba but no deaths were reported.

In Cuba, state-controlled television showed images of rain flooding roads and highways, especially around the eastern city of Santiago, but there were no reports of major damage. Far to the west in Havana, it wasn't even raining and there was no flooding.


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Hefty Repair Bill

Post by Mary » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:03 am

Hefty Repair Bill

Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | October 4, 2010
Article Source
Laura Redpath, Senior Gleaner Writer

Image
A resident of McGregor Gully, Kingston, balances as she makes her way along what was a road in the community during a break in last week's heavy rains associated with tropical depression 16, which was later upgraded to Tropical Storm Nicole. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer


The Jamaican Government will have to fork out $12 billion for repairs to infrastructure as a result of the passage of tropical depression 16, which was later upgraded to Tropical Storm Nicole.

Minister of Transport and Works Mike Henry told The Gleaner yesterday that the estimated cost of repairs was expected to increase. Officials within the ministry met yesterday afternoon to finalise a report that is to be submitted to Cabinet today.

"We're really at about $7 to $8 billion but there are still a number of parishes we have issues getting in," Henry said.

Although the ministry and the National Works Agency have assessed most of the parishes, they are awaiting reports from Westmoreland, Hanover, St Ann and St Mary.

"We're waiting on the final figures for restoration of asphalted roads, blocked drains, repairing kerbs and channels, culverts and reconstructing walls. This is where we're really going to concentrate first," Henry said.

The transport minister also revealed that the Sandy Gully is facing $5 billion worth of damage and the cost to clear roads stands at $1 billion.

According to a release from the ministry, Henry acknowledged the challenge that the Government faces in streamlining the country's rehabilitation and projects that were in place before Tropical Storm Nicole.

However, Henry also said the Jamaica Development Infrastruc-ture Programme, slated to start this month, is still on schedule.

"The Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme will continue in its totality. Where there is further damage, it will be costed in and added to the project," he said, noting that additional funding will be sought where necessary.

In addition, Henry expressed concern about the condition of the Kingston Harbour, the seventh largest natural harbour in the world.

"Kingston Harbour is threatened with all the debris that's going into it. In fact, it will cost well over a $1 million just to pick up old furniture, lumber materials that are threatening the shipping that takes place," Henry said.

Jamaica's catastrophe risk profile by the Inter-American Develop-ment Bank, released in August, placed a US$19-billion value on the country's infrastructure exposed to damage from natural disasters.

The assets include communication, residential and commercial buildings, industrial plants, public utilities and transportation.

Jamaica Urban Transit Company spokesman, Reginald Allen, though unable to give a cost, noted that the government-run organisation was facing millions of dollars in losses due to the tropical depression.

"There has been a significant loss of revenue: millions of dollars daily for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday," Allen said.

However, Allen optimistically noted the company was hoping transportation would be back to normal today.

laura.redpath@gleanerjm.com


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